Gary Taylor, John Jowett, Terri Bourus, and Gabriel Egan (eds), The New Oxford Shakespeare: Modern Critical Edition

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5.1Sc. 23

Editor’s NoteEnter Warwick, the Mayor of Coventry, two Messengers, and others, upon the walls

warwick Where is the post that came from valiant Oxford?

2How far hence is thy lord, mine honest fellow?

Editor’s Note3

first messenger By this at Dunsmore, marching hitherward.

Editor’s Note[Exit]

warwick How far off is our brother Montague?

5Where is the post that came from Montague?

Editor’s Note6

second messenger By this at Da'ntry, with a puissant troop.

Editor’s NoteEnter Somerville
Editor’s Note7

warwick Say, Somerville, what says my loving son?

8And, by thy guess, how nigh is Clarence now?


somerville At Southam I did leave him with his forces,

10And do expect him here some two hours hence.

[Drum within]

warwick Then Clarence is at hand. I hear his drum.

Editor’s Note12

somerville It is not his, my lord. Here Southam lies;

13The drum your honour hears marcheth from Warwick.

Editor’s Note14

warwick Who should that be? Belike unlooked-for friends.


somerville They are at hand, and you shall quickly know.

March. Flourish. Enter Edward, Richard, and soldiers
Editor’s Note16

edward Go, trumpet, to the walls, and sound a parle.

Editor’s Note[Flourish]

richard See how the surly Warwick mans the wall.

Editor’s Note18

warwick O, unbid spite! Is sportful Edward come?

19Where slept our scouts, or how are they seduced,

Editor’s Note20That we could hear no news of his repair?


edward Now, Warwick, wilt thou ope the city gates,

22Speak gentle words, and humbly bend thy knee,

23Call Edward king, and at his hands beg mercy,

24And he shall pardon thee these outrages.

pg 395 25

warwick Nay, rather, wilt thou draw thy forces hence,

26Confess who set thee up and plucked thee down,

27Call Warwick patron, and be penitent,

28And thou shalt still remain the Duke of York.


richard I thought at least he would have said 'the king';

30Or did he make the jest against his will?


warwick Is not a dukedom, sir, a goodly gift?


richard Ay, by my faith, for a poor earl to give.

Editor’s Note33I'll do thee service for so good a gift.


warwick 'Twas I that gave the kingdom to thy brother.


edward Why, then 'tis mine, if but by Warwick's gift.

Editor’s Note36

warwick Thou art no Atlas for so great a weight,

37And, weakling, Warwick takes his gift again;

38And Henry is my king, Warwick his subject.


edward But Warwick's king is Edward's prisoner;

40And, gallant Warwick, do but answer this:

41What is the body when the head is off?

Editor’s Note42

richard Alas that Warwick had no more forecast

Editor’s Note43But, whiles he thought to steal the single ten,

44The king was slyly fingered from the deck.

[To Warwick]

45You left poor Henry at the Bishop's palace,

46And ten to one you'll meet him in the Tower.


edward Editor’s Note[to Warwick] 'Tis even so—yet you are Warwick still.

Editor’s Note48

richard Come, Warwick, take the time, kneel down, kneel down.

Editor’s Note49Nay, when? Strike now, or else the iron cools.


warwick I had rather chop this hand off at a blow,

51And with the other, fling it at thy face,

Editor’s Note52Then bear so low a sail to strike to thee.


edward Sail how thou canst, have wind and tide thy friend,

54This hand, fast wound about thy coal-black hair,

55Shall, whiles thy head is warm and new cut off,

56Write in the dust this sentence with thy blood:

57'Wind-changing Warwick now can change no more'.

Editor’s NoteEnter Oxford, with drum and colours

warwick O, cheerful colours! See where Oxford comes.


oxford Oxford, Oxford, for Lancaster!


richard The gates are open. Let us enter too.

Editor’s Note61

edward So other foes may set upon our backs.

Editor’s Note62Stand we in good array, for they no doubt

63Will issue out again and bid us battle.

64If not, the city being but of small defence,

Editor’s Note65We'll quickly rouse the traitors in the same.

Editor’s Note66

warwick O welcome, Oxford, for we want thy help.

Enter Montague, with drum and colours
pg 396 67

montague Montague, Montague, for Lancaster!


richard Thou and thy brother both shall buy this treason

69Even with the dearest blood your bodies bear.


edward The harder matched, the greater victory.

71My mind presageth happy gain, and conquest.

Enter Somerset, with drum and colours

somerset Somerset, Somerset, for Lancaster!

Editor’s Note73

richard Two of thy name, both Dukes of Somerset,

74Have sold their lives unto the house of York;

Editor’s Note75And thou shalt be the third if this sword hold.

Enter Clarence, with drum and colours

warwick And lo where George of Clarence sweeps along,

77Of force enough to bid his brother battle;

78With whom an upright zeal to right prevails

Editor’s Note79More than the nature of a brother's love.

80Come, Clarence, come. Thou wilt if Warwick call.


clarence Father of Warwick, know you what this means?

82Look, here I throw my infamy at thee.

[He throws his red rose at Warwick]

Editor’s Note83I will not ruinate my father's house,

Editor’s Note84Who gave his blood to lime the stones together,

Editor’s Note85And set up Lancaster. Why, trowest thou, Warwick,

Editor’s Note86That Clarence is so harsh, so blunt, unnatural,

87To bend the fatal instruments of war

Link 88Against his brother and his lawful king?

Editor’s Note89Perhaps thou wilt object my holy oath.

Editor’s Note90To keep that oath were more impiety

91Than Jephthah when he sacrificed his daughter.

92I am so sorry for my trespass made

93That, to deserve well at my brother's hands,

94I here proclaim myself thy mortal foe,

95With resolution, wheresoe'er I meet thee—

96As I will meet thee, if thou stir abroad—

97To plague thee for thy foul misleading me.

98And so, proud-hearted Warwick, I defy thee,

99And to my brother turn my blushing cheeks.

100Pardon me, Edward, I will make amends;

101And, Richard, do not frown upon my faults,

102For I will henceforth be no more unconstant.


edward Now welcome more, and ten times more, beloved

104Than if thou never hadst deserved our hate.


richard Welcome, good Clarence! This is brother-like.

Editor’s Note106

warwick O, passing traitor, perjured and unjust!

pg 397 107

edward What, Warwick, wilt thou leave the town and fight?

108Or shall we beat the stones about thine ears?

Editor’s Note109

warwick Alas, I am not cooped here for defence.

110I will away towards Barnet presently,

111And bid thee battle, Edward, if thou dar'st.


edward Yes, Warwick, Edward dares, and leads the way.

113Lords, to the field! Saint George and victory!

Exeunt [Edward and his followers] Editor’s NoteMarch. Warwick and his company follow

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
23.0 The south Midlands place names indicate that the location is Coventry.
Editor’s Note
23.0 The rear stage wall represents the outside of the city walls.
Editor’s Note
23.3 By this by now
Editor’s Note
23.3 Dunsmore i.e. Dunsmore Heath, ten miles north-west of Da'ntry (23.6), i.e. Daventry, in Northamptonshire
Editor’s Note
23.3.1 Exit The Messenger may exit straight after delivering his news, or remain on stage. Likewise the Second Messenger and Somerville.
Editor’s Note
23.6 puissant strong, powerful
Editor’s Note
23.6.1 Somerville may join the others aloft.
Editor’s Note
23.7 son i.e. son-in-law. Clarence is now married to Warwick's daughter.
Editor’s Note
23.12 Here i.e. in this direction
Editor’s Note
23.14 Belike no doubt
Editor’s Note
23.16 trumpet trumpeter
Editor’s Note
23.16 parle (a trumpet signal requesting a conference)
Editor’s Note
23.16.1 Flourish A trumpeter advances to immediately below the stage wall to sound this flourish.
Editor’s Note
23.18 unbid uninvited, i.e. unwelcome
Editor’s Note
23.18 spite annoyance
Editor’s Note
23.18 sportful lascivious
Editor’s Note
23.20 repair approach
Editor’s Note
23.33 I'll … service (ironic)
Editor’s Note
23.36 Atlas (the Titan who supported the heavens with his head and hands)
Editor’s Note
23.42 forecast forethought
Editor’s Note
23.43 single mere
Editor’s Note
23.43 ten i.e. the ten in a pack of cards (valuable, but less so than the face-cards)
Editor’s Note
23.47.1 to Warwick Or ''Tis even so' might be to Richard, or to all.
Editor’s Note
23.48 take the time take advantage of the favourable situation
Editor’s Note
23.49 Nay, when? (exclamation of impatience)
Editor’s Note
23.49 Strike act; yield (see 23.52). Also 'hammer', as of shaping hot metal (see next line); the idea was proverbial.
Editor’s Note
23.52 bear … thee i.e. do you homage. To strike is 'as to lower the sails', hence 'as to yield' (cf. 13.5).
Editor’s Note
23.57.1 Enter … colours Oxford enters, passes over the stage, and exits with his forces through the door representing the city gates, thus into the city. Montague and Somerset do likewise. The staging allows the actors playing soldiers to reappear, bearing different banners to represent the different armies.
Editor’s Note
23.61 So that way, if we do
Editor’s Note
23.62 array martial order
Editor’s Note
23.65 rouse force out from cover (hunting terminology)
Editor’s Note
23.66 Oxford He may have reappeared aloft (and so too possibly Montague at 23.69 and Somerset at 23.74). Or Warwick might respond to a musical flourish within.
Editor’s Note
23.73 Two … Somerset Richard addresses Edmund, the fourth Duke of Somerset. The defection of his elder brother, Henry, the third Duke, from the Yorkist cause was described in Scs. 14 and 15. The head that Richard threw on the stage at 1.16 was of Edmund, the second Duke, father of these two.
Editor’s Note
23.75 hold holds out, sticks to the task
Editor’s Note
23.79 love Possibly, trumpets sound while Richard and Clarence converse unheard before Clarence declares his changed allegiance.
Editor’s Note
23.83 ruinate reduce to ruins
Editor’s Note
23.84 lime cement
Editor’s Note
23.85 trowest thou do you believe
Editor’s Note
23.86 blunt unfeeling
Editor’s Note
23.89 object raise an objection, invoke
Editor’s Note
23.90–1 To … daughter Proverbially, an unlawful oath is better broken than kept. Alludes to the Israelite judge Jephthah who killed his daughter to fulfil his oath that, if victorious, he would sacrifice to Jehovah the first person he met after the battle (Judges 11:30–40).
Editor’s Note
23.106 passing unsurpassed
Editor’s Note
23.109 cooped (sufficiently) enclosed for protection
Editor’s Note
23.113.2 follow They might leave the upper gallery, re-enter below, then leave by the door through which Edward exited. Or they simply leave from above after Edward has departed.
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